Roberto 1245 - Dusk of the Flame

(Yes, I had no real idea for a thread name)

It's 1245.
10 years have passed since Roberto saved his paramour, Princess Soteira, and her city.
10 years since he escaped the trap Leolinus laid for him.
10 years since Soteira, inheriting her father's mantle, became Queen Soteira.
10 years since Roberto turned down her marriage proposal.

Roberto said he wanted to be a worthy suitor to Soteira. That only an archmage could wed the Queen of the Seas.
And he held on to that, despite his friend Wirth's attempts at a solution, despite the insult it was to Soteira and her people, despite the heartache it caused everyone.

Yet, 10 years later, he hasn't even made a single step toward this. Slowly, age is catching up to him.
Now, the questions are: Why is that so, and how does it feels about it?

(Next step: what went on in Herakleion. I need to write some more background on this.)

(The actual reason was the zig-zag time jumping way we played that and later events :mrgreen: )

But being deeply introspective during rare moments of calm is the Flambeau way. It is Roberto's way anyway.

Where he last left off, in 1244, he was a few xp away from having a score of 5 in every Art. Which is what is needed to train an apprentice. Which is what is required before becoming an Archmagus. At the start of 1245 he will have accomplished this.

He could have gunned straight for it and hit those scores much sooner. But he tends to be very inefficient. He spent most of his free time inventing more and more spells (diverting exposure xp to Arts) and not as much time in direct study as he should have.

He is also ever going off on expedition and adventure. After The Visitor, there was Escape from the City of Brass (which kinda went wonky but was just about done where we left off). In that he wound up getting his leg broken in a fight with a Jinn. Solomon tried to drain its energy but could not penetrate, Roberto, ever daring and reckless, ripped an earring from the giant and got thrown to the ground hard, resulting in a compound fracture. The earring served as an essential AC and allowed Solomon to defeat the fearsome foe. Cecelio helped to heal him with magic and Roberto did the rest. But as always, he came away from it feeling inadequate and not "tough enough".
In "War of the Roses", he managed to be successful. After defeating The Beast and granting it mercy, he did feel a little better about his ability. He also realized that maybe violence isn't always the answer. Sometimes it is, but not always.
More refinement was needed.
The main areas of development were Lab Refinement, Familiar Bond Empowerment, and more spells. The Lab and Bond is what has kept him healthy without longevity. Indeed, somewhat better than most wizards with Longevity can manage. Bond Empowerment and spells have helped make him more combat effective and suited for adventure.
But for what?
Then there is Lucien and Edith. The first the apprentice of another and the other a young maga brougt to him by Fleur. He has become mentor to them both, and has [strike]wasted[/strike] invested time in training each of them in some of his spells. As if to start his own school of magical combat (based on the Mastery of key spells).
Soon after that, there was the adventure in Barcelona. Ancient History. Therein, he once again got his @$$ handed to him. This time by a rogue Tytalus magic that was able to silent fast cast Perdo Corpus spells. He barely managed to defeat him, and Vibria (I think) was the one who managed to rescue the captive and the documents.
Skin of the teeth success.
In 1242 he visited Heracleion (according to my records, but we can change that to having vacationed elsewhere if it fits better). Then there was "The Exarch" and the mess that resulted from that. There was a rumor that he committed war crimes when he was apprentice. Which is not a false statement, but the specific incident was something Santiago had done. Roberto, loyal to his mentor, willingly took the blame and suffers the stigma on his reputation. (I will write an end for The Exarch, but) The end results are that Pietro of Flambeau has become the new Primus, but there is a Schism in the House for the followers of (the filius of Garus) do not accept the results.
Roberto wants nothing to do with these political conflicts. Not at all. But what can you do?

So here we are. 55 years old, twenty five as a magus. No apprentice. No Talisman. No children. No political accomplishment. No magical breakthroughs. No wife. Nothing.
He wonders what Wirth is up to, how his wife and son are doing. How old is the kid by now? Whatever happened to Havlard and Iolar?

In 1244 there was a proposal for an adventure, "Ancient Discovery". That probably got postponed?

Anyways, here we are in 1245. Roberto does not feel that he has been stalling, but he has been inefficient. There have been some doubts, second guessing, hints of this are scattered in the recap I just wrote. But any such feelings are fleeting. Self doubt will linger mere seconds in his thoughts before he dismisses such notions as useless and false. Overconfidence soothes the soul in that he rarely if ever blames himself for anything. Circumstances have been challenging, and he is constantly improving himself in order to meet these challenges. This takes time. Now he is ready to train an apprentice. Then he will be ready to challenge an Archmagus for the title. Then he will be Soterias equal and peer. ([size=50]But does that matter? Yes! Of course it does. No time for self doubt. Just keep moving![/size]) Then he can marry her. She is immortal. What does a delay of ten or even a hundred years matter? This is but a blink.

On my way. Almost there. I just need to stay focused and get serious.


Roberto hasn't heard anything from Wirth for a while, now. He's been very busy, so he didn't quite notice how long, but maybe 3 years?
Edward... Now that you think of him, it's been a long time now, boy must be all grown up! No. Has it really been so long? He was born in 1224, meaning he is a man now, maybe even married! And since Sophie was born in 1227, barely 3 years later, maybe she is, too.
Time flies, ever faster.

Which brings us to Soteira.
She was hurt by Roberto's rejection. How couldn't she be? This was a slap in the face, to one accustomed to being treated as royalty, so this soured relationships between them for a time. Not that she blamed Roberto that much, she could understand him, but through a mixture of pain and disappointment. Roberto may think being immortal makes her more patient, but, sadly, he is wrong on that account. The fact that neither of them realized this fundamental misunderstanding didn't help things either.

And then, there's politics.
After such a massive change in leadership, Soteira needed to assuage her subject's fears. She was also a little inexperienced, and needed help. So she relied heavily on her father's Council of Advisors, which represents the city's various groups. They were already uneasy with an unmarried queen, and, when word did get out of Roberto's rejection, it only made things worse, and tarnished Roberto's reputation a great deal (Reputation in Herakleion as Prideful +1. Unless you've got a better name for the idea of "Who does he thinks he is?").
So far, she's asserted her authority at every turn, but, combined with her stubborn refusal to contemplate any other man that the one who spurned her, this undermines her authority a great deal, which in turns stress her relationship with Roberto, even when she says nothing about it.

Who know how much this factored in Roberto's inefficiency towards becoming an Archmagus?

Not as much as you would think. Roberto can be boneheaded sometimes. It comes down to his Personality Flaws again (I am being introspective :mrgreen: ). He is Overconfident and Reckless. He finds it difficult to acknowledge personal fault or mistake, and he rarely frets about the consequences. But he is not a bad person. He doesn't blame his problems on other people, and he does try to be thoughtful in his planning and conduct. Still, he is only human, and like most humans he can be incapable of realizing when he is wrong.

But something has caused Roberto to look at things with a bit more self introspection.
It is hard to come to grips with the fact that you are being a jerk, especially when you have been so blatantly ignoring it for so long. Roberto may be a great guy, a heroic figure and a bastion of justice. But he is also a jerk. An egotistical sexist jerk. It is more than just not wanting to be Mister Queen, more than just not wanting to live underwater, not wanting to become one of the Fae. He simply cannot handle a woman being his superior. An equal perhaps, for such is the way of the Order of Hermes, and such has been proven to him time and time again. But not a superior. That is just too much. That is why he came up with the excuse of needing to become an Archmagus. Clutching at straws, any way to save his ego. Truth be told though, believe it or not, Roberto does not desire to chase glory. Archmagus is a mantle to be granted as an honor and carried as a burden. Not a title chased for vanity.

But now that he has come to this sobering conclusion in the midst of a bottle of wine, what is he going to do with this revelation?

As for updating Roberto, this is what I propose...

Age 54 (44), Aging Roll: Age +6, Living Conditions -2, Location -3, Lab -2, Bronze Cord -3, Roll of 4, equals 0
No Apparent Aging
Winter: "Ancient Discovery” (TBD)
Spring: Study “Catalogus Plantarum Mysticum”, Herbam Summae (L18, Q13). [tab][/tab]Study Total 13xp; Herbam 6[sup]4xp[/sup]
Summer: “All Roads Lead to Africa” (TBD)
Autumn: Teach Spells Mastery to Lucien and Edith ? (TBD)
Age 55 (44), Aging Roll: Age +6, Living Conditions -2, Location -3, Lab -2, Bronze Cord -3, Roll of 1d10=7, equals 3; Apparent Age increases one year
Winter “Dusk of the Flame” (TBD)

Some time ago, in Herakleion

  • He is every bit Roberto's equal. He's got a reputation as a champion of all things mystical, and has plans to protect our city from would-be invaders. He's dedicated, and would made a handsome king.
    - For once, I agree with Coral. And don't forget: He already bridges our world and the human's. He could help us develop far more than any warrior magi
    - I hear you all. But I promised both myself and Roberto that I would wait for him. What queen would I be if I didn't kept my word? Especially to one who fought for us time and again, without asking for any reward. What message would this send, to our people and our allies?
  • My queen, with all due respect, you can't cling to the past. Despite Lord Roberto's prowess, he's made his wishes clear, in deed if not in word. Is he any closer to marrying you now than he was before? I think not.
  • That's the word, cousin. You're a queen now. You can't elope like some lovestruck commoner. Keep Roberto on the side if you wish, but you need to send a clear message to the people.
    - You're all blinded by the merinita's charms and gifts, and are not being fair to Roberto. He never said he wouldn't marry our queen, and we know we can count on him if need be. Would the pretender make a good king? Maybe, and maybe not. But doesn't Roberto also deserve a chance? Our queen is right, she can't be seen as fickle or weak.

One thing leads to another, and thus, one of the last warm days of 1245, a fish is found, bearing in its mouth a message for Roberto of Flambeau, magus of Andorra. From there, it swiftly makes its way to the mage.

(Message to come, I need to check my books for a name)

(I was sure there was the perfect magus in a book, but it seems I was mistaken :frowning: )
So, the letter

[b]My love

Once again, I find myself in need of your help and support. As you know, the council of advisors has been, shall we say, unhappy about the state of our relationship. But now, I face increased pressure.
A magus from your order, Orin Merinitae, has found the way to my realm. Maybe you know about him, as he's got a reputation, at least among my kind, as a friend of all the sea's denizens. He has asked for my hand. That would be bad enough, but he has managed to tie his proposal to a formal alliance with river spirits from the Tiber and the Po, which helped him win the council's good graces.
I'm not insensate to their pleas. I may have to marry him. I would much prefer to marry you. But how long can we wait?
I need you. I need you to come here, to make your presence felt, to show your commitment, to me and my people. I need you to show that, whatever the wait, it'll be worth it in the end, that you'll make a great king, better than any other man.
My heart goes to you, fully


(Just in case: I have no planned end for this, you may do whatever you want however you want, it may end in any way. This is not "supposed" to end with a wedding, although it may. And this is not the only seed, although it's the only one I'm remotely prepared for)

Before I read this I had come to the conclusion that it is me and not Roberto that has the problem. I am just too attached to this character :laughing:
Anyway, I had come to the conclusion that Roberto is starting to realize he is in the wrong. There are several passages in the bible that praise a strong woman and admonishes men to be grateful for having such in his life and to follow her lead. There is no room for sexism in Christianity. I had decided that Roberto was going to go to Sotiera and tell her how wrong he has been and his foolish stubborn pride has stood in his way. But then comes the messenger fish. So he packs a bag and some gear, telling no one what he is doing, not even Carlos or Cidito. He then takes an Arcane Connection to the gates of Heracleion and casts Leap of Homecoming.
There is going to be one potential sticking point. Roberto is prepared to marry straight away. But he is going to insist that Soteria convert to Christianity. Though he is a magus, he is a staunch Catholic in the middle ages. Now, I myself am a modern American, Greek Orthodox but very open and liberal. Such things do not bother me and I have had several mixed relationships. But for Roberto, it is the one and only line. She will have to convert and he will change his life for her.
So away we go...
cast Leap of Homecoming: 1D10 = [2] = 2
plus Sta +1, Rego 10, Corpus 5, Mastery 1, Aura 3,
equals 22. Failure and Fatigue.

Rest a moment to catch his breath. Tell Cidito what he is up to after all in case he needs support for Fatigue loss. Try again with shouts and exaggerated gestures...
cast Leap of Homecoming: 1D10 = [3] = 3
plus Sta +1, Rego 10, Corpus 5, Mastery 1, Aura 3, Words& Gestures +2
The exact minimum number needed. And with Stalwart Casting mastery there is no further fatigue loss.

It's fine! This doesn't need to be the end of him. Even if he marries Soteira, he can still do/be whatever you like! For example, Conan became a badass king and still had adventures.
But then, not only can he cast "Lungs of the Fish", but the regio rules changed when Soteira became queen, making water as breathable as air inside it :smiley:

Hum... Didn't he discuss this with Wirth, who found a suitable solution? Maybe his friend could advise him once more should the time come again.


As he has done so many times before, Roberto prepares to travel to Herakleion.
Old habits die hard, and even if the regio's water became breathable with Soteira's accession to the Throne, he still cast Lungs of the Fish before travelling. Habit doesn't lessen the abrupt transition from air to water, like taking a sudden dive, but Roberto's warrior training kicks in instantly, first noticing the people around, then its surroundings, ready to dodge any attack, before his conscious mind even adapts to the change.

However, none of that proves necessary. The water is warm, welcoming, and the merfolk around, although surprised by the magus sudden appearance, have all the looks of peaceful, healthy people going about their lives. Looking at the city's beautiful marble walls, he can't help but wonder how good they look compared to their creepy appearance under Attumah's rule.
And whispers erupt, of course

  • Roberto?
  • It's Roberto! It's him
  • Do you think the knows?
  • Some guts to...
  • How would he? There's just no way.
  • It's Roberto, the ... champion!
  • He must be, or ... be here
  • Shhh, he'll hear you!
  • ... Defender of the city!

What's your next move?

I think you mean this bit?
Wirth's Advice

Roberto puts his finger to his ear, like a security guy from the 21st century :laughing:. Using mind speak with his familiar...
Cidito. Do me a favor. wink on over to Novus Mane and talk to Wirth for me. Tell him where I am and what I am up to. Do not tell the others at Andorra. Maybe Carlos, but only after you talk to Wirth. I am in Heracleion. People are giving me strange looks and whispering. As usual, I lept into action without planning ahead of time or tinking of what I am doing. I may need some back up if things get hairy. But more so, I may need a friend to advise me.
(whatever conversation ensues, then...)
Roberto grabs the attention of the first city guard or official type person he can talk to.
Hail and well met! Would you be so kind as to assist me? Take me to the palace and announce me? I mean, I know where it is and all. I don't want to barge in on the Queen without observing proper protocol.

Yes, although I had no idea what he might have said :smiley:

Ok, my bad.
I had this idea that Novus Mane had disbanded a few years after roberto's departure, and that Wirth had relocated to the provencal tribunal. I think Aedes Mercuri (But I'm not sure, and you've taken me by surprise, which means I can't check). And I thought you knew this too.

But whatever. It will take a little while for cidito to get all this, but in short, wirth's adobe has been abandoned for a long time now. Cobwebs and all.
I'm glad to see Roberto speak again, I like him.

Roberto readily finds a young, bulky guy manning the gates. Well, actually, more sitting around and talking to people: Things seem pretty relaxed by now.

When Roberto approaches him, he gets up

  • Sir, Roberto! It is an honor to meet you. We of the city guard got your back.
    And as you voice your demand
  • Aye, it'll be an honor, and the lord commander will sure be glad to see you again. Will do!
    And he rushes towards the palace.

Do you wait? Do you go forward? Cidito's reply will get you meanwhile, whatever you do.

Roberto slowly walks forward, letting the one he designated his herald proceed him with haste.

As for Cidito, I presume he has Wirth himself sent marked. However, he was told to go to Novus Mane. And his power is limited in that he cannot mystically transport while being observed. Interesting side story potential here. Or just a way to limit Roberto a bit. :wink:

I should really take notes, I keep forgetting what I have in mind :blush:

Roberto and the guards advance through the Streets, their passage marked by the same mixture of curiosity, admiration and contempt as what Roberto experienced at the gates.
Still, the city is thriving. The waters are pure, the temperature perfect, the walls pristine marble and coral, and the inhabitants, from the human-like to the most alien, all look both fit and happy. Clearly, Herakleion thrives under Soteira's realm, and it wouldn't be that way without Roberto's efforts.

The mood changes utterly when they cross into the merchant quarters. These are much more congenial than your average citizen, and quickly assault Roberto with offers from all kind of goods, be it almost mundane, clearly magical, or just weird, like the wiggling thing a scaly dude hangs under Roberto's nose.

  • Eat this Burning squid stuffed with Pulped Anchovy marinated in shark blood! you won't regret it!
    - Scale armor for the warriors! Supple and impenetrable, can stop any spear or blow!
  • Great protector, try this amulet! Consecrated in Poseidon's temple, it'll keep your skin smooth and moisty! Try it for the ladies!
  • You, sir, are a knight of great renown, and I have just the sword for you! Its watery blade will cut through anything, and drown your foes at a whim!

Unless Roberto wants to stop and do some shopping, he arrives at the palace without any trouble.

For Cidito: Since his power relies on scent marking, which tends to dissipate over time, I assume he has a series of place he does his "rounds", keeping them marked at all times. There's a reason for this: Magi are protected from his power by their Parma, and if mundanes wash, it tends to go away. So he has some individuals marked, but this is more fleeting, depending on contact. So if someone is still marked, it's more Clara, Edward or Sophie

Roberto does want to do some shopping. A token gift for his beloved. Jewelry or something, a humble item withmeaning. But he didn't think to bring any money. He has vis in his ring and knows a spell to transfer it into a sea shell or something?

As for Cidito, since Wirth is not at Novus Mane, he decides to roam his own old haunts in that strong magic regio whence he came from .when he was a kitten

Seeing Roberto pause to look at the goods ravishes the merchants, who rival in flavory descriptions to try and sell him something.
And the goods are wonderful, far beyond anything Roberto saw under King Triton.

Dresses, weapons, jewelry, mirrors, philters... Roberto feels like he could spend hours searching for the perfect gift, as he always find something new.
But he's always been a man of action, and knows when to act decisively. He grabs a round broach, a ruby mingled with a topaz, held together by silver.

  • How much for this?
    The merchant, a plump little man, toad-like in his features, skin wrinkled by age, looks at him
  • How much worth the gift, to you? For this is a gift, isn't it? Tell me, how much worth your love? You are champion of the realm, sir Roberto. For you, for this time, price will be forfeit, if you give it with a full heart.

Assuming Roberto takes the broach with him, he can either continue shopping, or swim through the sea of merchants to the palace, without any trouble.

Cidito... It's been a long time since he visited his birthing grounds, and something feels different. It takes him some time to realise it's the lack of all those telltale signs of human presence that make the difference. But what the aura lacks in humanity, it's gained in felinity, as the orange terror notices the smell of several cats, some of them weirdly familiar.

(My apologies for the delay. I've got a new boss, and she's figuring out I can do all kind of things. I could still have come here, but I was swept up and time flew while I wasn't thinking of the game)


Roberto eyes the jewelry. What shape and style is it? Does it feel like it is magical somehow? It would be rude to spont an InVi spell right in front of the guy. He probably accepts it and gives sincere thanks to the merchant. Further, he sets it to memory to indeed make sure that he "give it with a full heart" when he does so. But he also keeps in mind that he should examine the item with further scrutiny before he does give it.
On-wards, young man! What did you say your name was again? And tell me, what is the latest news about town?

As for Cidito, he is curious about the increased feline feel of the regio/aura. He is also curious about the scents of nearby familiar cats. He calls out, "MeOohw?".

It's a round broach, with a round silver circle and 2 halves made of ruby and topaz, with the two stones mingling where they touch.
Is it magical? Hum... That's next to impossible to say without a spell. The way it melds both gems looks impossible without supernatural intervention, but that doesn't mean the broach has any power on its own. Given enough Muto Terram, you could do something similar.

With InVi 10 and the Aura of 8, Roberto can reasonnably hope to detect any active power if he exerts himself. Assuming he does so at some point, he finds nothing (magic/faerie/divine/infernal), but this is not very telling. It could very well activate, say, "At touch, on the next sunrise". And investigating it for any invested effet would take a season :frowning:

  • Errr, I didn't, sir, that's why. Sorry, sir, I should have done so.
    He almost salutes
  • Name's Manta, from the guard! We're big fans of yours, sir. The queen did a great job, and the city is fine and prosperous today. You saw the gates, you did? Lots of trade, and with our surface friends too. But you know, we don't forget that none of this would have been possible without you, sir. The queen should have married you right there and then, instead of listening to all these politicians, I say. Now, everyone wants her to marry some foreigner, but he wasn't there when we needed it, you know? You were. Now, they all forgets this, just because things are so great. But we don't. Know this, sir. You and the queen, we got your back.
    So inflamed is he by his tirade, he almost misses a step
  • Sorry, sir. Shouldn't get riled up like this, but it's unfair, you know?

Multiple hisses answer. One by one, the felides show themselves, a few of them with fur or stripes approaching the color of Cidito's.

Roberto sets his expression to stern in an effort to conceal concern.
[tab][/tab]Manta, mi amigo, I understand your passion. But take heart, for I have come to correct the course. The mistake was mine. I should have married her there and then. Yet the politicians and her advisors, I foresaw conflict. Not just because I am a foreigner, but also because I am of a different Faith. I feared not any challenges to myself. I relish challenge! But with her power so new at the time, I did not want to handicap the queen in any way until she was settled in. Alas, it seems I avoided one burden only to unwittingly place a different one.
[tab][/tab]So it would seem that I now have a rival. I recant when i said that I relish challenge and do not fear it. That may be true in most circumstances, but not in this. I lack no confidence in the queen's heart, for I know her love is true. But I know this. My beloved Soteria, my queen, above all she is a good queen. She will not hesitate to put the needs of her people before her own or mine. And my heart would be proud, even if crushed, were she to choose this other. So I must take this rival seriously.
Tell me, what do you know of him?

Instinctively Cidito puffs up, increasing his Size by one point (to a score of -1, he is a big cat to begin with). He may even unconsciously radiate heat. Not enough to burn anything, just warmth.
Yes, I was just reading the character sheet to reacquaint myself with the character :mrgreen:
When he sees others of his marking, he takes hope in the chance at parley. At the same time he becomes more cautious and concerned, now that he knows what sort of folk he is dealing with.